We’re in Oberhausen for Superstars of Wrestling, a show which turned out to be wXw’s highest attended show ever by almost breaking the four figure mark for tickets sold. They’ve put together an intriguing card mixing current global stars like Matt Riddle with a host of Lucha Underground talent and a couple of old WCW dogs. It’s a show aiming to appeal as broadly as possible. Lucha Underground has become a draw in Germany because it’s being shown on TV over there, explaining the sudden influx of lucha talent on this show. The event itself is sponsored by Tele 5, the channel that airs Lucha Underground.

westside Xtreme wrestling
Superstars of Wrestling
May 13, 2017
Luise Albertz Halle
Oberhausen, Germany

Watch: wXw Now

Hosts on the English language commentary is Rico Bushido and Adam Polak.

Hurricane Helms & Da Mack def. Chris Colen & Francis Kaspin

Yep, that Hurricane Helms, in full WWE superhero get-up and mark belt.

Helms’ limitations are there for all to see. He’s not chasing glory, he’s not out here to impress, he’s here for the paycheque. I can’t say I blame the 42 year old. He’s had a steady string of booking based on nostalgia, still dining on his WWE run that ended in 2010, and in his defence I don’t think he’s ever recovered from a motorbike accident in 2011. The crowd dtillenjoy everything he brings to the table though, politely applauding his spots.

Every time I see Colen and Kaspin team I’m waiting for Colen to turn heel. It seems like a no-brainer and I’m guessing it’ll happen eventually. Colen takes the pin here, chokeslammed by Nostalgia Shane. It was fine. **1/2

Bobby Gunns def. Drago

The Lucha Underground TV connection immediately works as the crowd react heavily for Drago. Bobby has major communication issues with Drago, frequently being out of position and it leads to some clumsy looking sequences. Drago soon realises that Gunns is not the maestro he was expecting and just runs through his spots. Bobby Gunns works as a heel because I hate him, but part of that hatred comes from Bobby’s awkward looking transitions and dodgy in-ring movement. Bobby needs to iron out those flaws in his game if he wants to be taken seriously in professional wrestling. Gunns takes this with an armbar. I can see what they’re doing with Bobby Gunns, it’s reminiscent of ECW’s push of Justin Credible and they’re around the same talent level too. **

WALTER def. Kim Ray

They’ve been building this up since Carat where Kim Ray made a dramatic return from retirement. They’ve done a solid job of putting over his kick-heavy offence and capacity to upset a larger opponent, but the bigger story was outside the ring here though with Christian Michael Jakobi and Karsten Beck cornering their respective wrestlers. Beck had to retire with a brain tumour but has recently received clearance to return to the ring; it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out with him currently in an office position. WALTER continues his good work in getting Kim over and making the crowd forget how tame and uninteresting Ray was before his retirement.

It’s a constant battle during WALTER matches to get the opponent to be a believable threat when WALTER’s offence is so devastating. WALTER’s so good at selling though, so he’s able to get Kim’s kicks over as a threat. It’s a well structured match and is aided by outside interference, especially from CMJ. It’s incredible how they’ve got CMJ over as a bully who can beat up Karsten Beck. The distraction is enough for WALTER to kick Kim’s leg away and submit him with the anklelock. The way WALTER applies the hold is devastating, incorporating an added knee across the back for added viciousness. ***1/2

Bad Bones def. Vampiro

I didn’t care for Vampiro when he was young and healthy. Now he’s a 49 year old commentator in makeup who hasn’t wrestled in two years. It’s a novelty booking, there’s no doubt about that, but for some reason the crowd love Vampiro. He’s a mess. I feel bad for John Klinger, who’s been great so far this year, as he has to spend this match taking chair shots in mid-air and overselling to allow the tubby old wreck to set up his spots.

I’m shocked at how over Vampiro is in Germany. The relaxed rules helps that too with the crowd popping the violence rather than the wrestling. I have to give Vampiro some props though, he does try a lot harder than Hurricane Helms. Like with Sugar Shane, time has not been kind to Vampiro although he benefits from only wrestling a couple of matches a year. The hot crowd helps immensely and Klinger makes a point of doing sufficient crazy things, like jumping off the lighting rig, to get the match over before his victory.

There was enough effort from Vampiro here to get the match over and the carnage that Bones created was enough for a standing ovation from Oberhausen. I’m not feeling that generous but at least it wasn’t the disaster it could have been. If Vampiro had put this much effort into his entire career he could have been a really big star. **1/4

wXw World Tag Team Championships
Young Lions def. A4

A4 are having a glorious tag title run, which has helped to establish Marius Al-Ani as one of the companies most exciting young talents and has gotten him noticed by WWE. Meanwhile Andy is the consummate veteran pro and has been killing it in this role. While the Young Lions have good tag team continuity they’re clearly outclassed here. The match is going fine until the insertion of a ref bump and three masked guys run in wearing “Rise” t-shirts. They hit a bunch of moves and the Young Lions get thrown on top leading to them winning. This was a shocking turn of events. The masked boys expose themselves, and one of them is Chris Colen. He’s finally turned heel and it wasn’t even on Kaspin. I’m doubly shocked. We are seeing a new stable it in wXw going by the name of Rise, but it was a slightly underwhelming birth. ***1/4

Buff Bagwell def. Jaxon Stone

I think we can all accept this is the kind of match that exist for fans of wrestling that don’t care about workrate and excitement. It’s here for nostalgia purposes. Jaxon has no chance to getting a decent match out of Buff and can’t even do a passable Bagwell impression pre-match. Buff Bagwell is easily in my top ten least favourite wrestlers of all time. It’s a shame really because Marcus Alexander Bagwell was genuinely quite good at professional wrestling. The pre-match heated stalling is holiday camp crap. Jaxon has never looked less capable on a big stage. His shtick is lazy and outdated.

Rico gets a bit carried away and calls Buff a “WCW Legend”. “He’s an aging stripper and I hate aging strippers” retorts Adam Polak. Buff takes one bump, manages to bust himself open while sitting in a nerve hold, no sells a low blow and gets the win in relatively short order. This absolutely stank. DUD

Robert Dreissker def. Julian Nero & Ilja Dragunov

Cerberus collide here with all three former members in a triple threat and former manager Polak on commentary. While Avalanche has been a minor success after Cerberus, there’s no doubting that Ilja is the big star to come out of the group. This is a tremendous sprint with everyone firing on all cylinders. Avalanche is in his element here. It does feel like they’ve been told to trim five minutes off their match and instead of removing spots they’ve just sped it all up. Ilja’s rush results in poor Nero taking a backdrop driver on his head; it looked like a horrible. The speed of the match is breath-taking but it also causes issues beyond Nero almost dying, because when someone gets a bump wrong they had no time to get back into position. To compensate for this they batter each other. It’s tremendously stiff. Nero gets eliminated and Avalanche scores the upset with the Blue Thunder. At some point Avalanche had to get a win over Dragunov or he’d be permanently relegated to second class citizen in wXw and they need him to be a bigger star than that. This was a cracker but it did feel a bit rushed. ***1/2

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Jurn Simmons def. Matt Riddle

This is a sturdy test for champion Jurn Simmons, facing one of the best independent talents in the business today. Riddle’s getting booked so much in Europe nowadays he might as well move here. The match structure here is similar to Riddle vs. WALTER with Jurn throwing Riddle around and Matt refusing to take the abuse. Jurn has assembled a remarkable array of power moves as a babyface, but Riddle meets that power and refuses to back down. Jurn eventually overpowers Riddle and wins with a piledriver. This was all out war but like the previous match it felt a little rushed. Maybe a touch of inexperience on both guys behalf, perhaps because it wasn’t the main event, but regardless it delivered. Riddle looks like a bit of a ‘happy to be here’ goof in his post match embrace, compared to the intensity he showed during the match itself, but that’s a minor complaint. Both these guys are great. ***1/2

wXw Shotgun Championship
Angelico def. Emil Sitoci, Fenix & Pentagon Jr.

Thanks to the Tele5 TV deal wXw are free to use the Fenix and Pentagon Jr names. All other Indies are jealous. Emil is better than most people credit him and he’s able to hang with all the lucha business at the start of the match. Pentagon is over huge for blasting everyone with stiff kicks and posing like a motherfucker.

The match is somewhat spotty but the execution, especially from Pentagon and Fenix, is excellent. The camera pans around the crowd and almost everyone is standing, enjoying the madness. There’s the odd timing issue, but the overall execution is great. Pentagon in particular seems hesitant at times, not wanting to go too early and botch something. After a rain of flipz and dives Angelico hits his Crucifix Bomb into the corner and gets the pin on Sitoci. New champion to culminate a fun spotfest main event. Good work, especially from Pentagon in the striking and personality department, but the stand-out on high spots was Fenix. ****

Final Thoughts:

This was a card of high highs and low lows. The top end was excellent with the spotty main event in particular being tremendous fun. The pacing of the show was excellent throughout. The issues stemmed from bringing in talent from WCW’s heyday, but Vampiro tried very hard to achieve something with Bad Bones and Hurricane Helms was a good novelty act for the opening match. The only massive failure on this show was Bagwell vs. Jaxon Stone. Not only was Bagwell exposed for being old and lazy but Jaxon was exposed for being a low level worker. The whole thing left a sour taste in the mouth and it was a really bad match. If you skip that it’s a solid show. I know wXw were thrilled with how it came off and how into it the crowd were. Nearly a thousand people in attendance and with the popularity of wXw on the rise, thanks in part to Tele5; this could be the start of something big for the promotion.